2013 Super Bowl Preview Offensive and Defensive Lines

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Although they rarely get much recognition, the big guys in the trenches are often the deciding factor in any game.  Super Bowl XLVII isn’t going to be an exception.

The Baltimore Ravens offensive line versus the defensive line of the 49ers is going to be the vital matchup in this game.  The Ravens first need to set the tone by opening up holes for Ray Rice.  This isn’t going to be an easy task against the strong defense of the 49ers but Rice has to be able to move the ball. 

I don’t expect him to have a career day, but he has to be effective enough to keep those great defensive ends honest.  Second, and more importantly, they have to keep Joe Flacco on his feet.  The Ravens are going to have to pass the ball effectively to win this game and they won’t be able to do that if Flacco is on his back.  If the Ravens offensive line can do these two things, I think they’ll be Super Bowl champions.  On the other hand, if Aldon Smith and company can cause havoc, the Niners will have a great shot at winning this game.

The 49er offensive line versus the Ravens defensive line is an intriguing matchup.  With Colin Kaepernick’s mobility, the offensive line is given a huge break in the passing game.  I don’t foresee a lot of sack opportunities for the Ravens for a couple reasons.  Mainly, I doubt we’ll see too many seven step drops out of Kaepernick and even if they do get pressure it is nearly impossible to bring him down.  The main battle on this front is going to be in the rushing game.  I think it’s vital for San Francisco to establish a strong running game and that starts by opening up holes for Gore and Kaepernick.  If that offensive line can push around the defensive line of the Ravens, they’ll have a great shot at winning this game.

All in all, I think it’s fairly even on this front but the strength of the San Francisco defensive line tips the scale in their favor.  I think Aldon Smith is going to get into the Baltimore backfield and cause some problems for Joe Flacco and I doubt there will be too many holes for Ray Rice to run though.  As the saying goes, games are usually won in the trenches and if that holds true, I think the 49ers will win Super Bowl XLVII.